September 13, 2018 / 6:39 AM / in 2 months

IMF says Russia might have room for more rate cuts

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen outside the headquarters building in Washington, U.S., September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday that Russia might benefit from further interest rate cuts if inflation stayed subdued.

A day before a central bank policy meeting, the IMF said “further monetary easing could be appropriate if headline inflation remains below the 4¬†percent target and underlying inflationary pressures stay low.”

The central bank is expected to hold the key rate at 7.25 percent on Friday but say it could tighten policy given risks stemming from the weak currency, according to a Reuters poll. Higher rates could bolster a falling rouble.

The IMF also said it supported a plan to raise the retirement age for men and women that has prompted street protests across Russia and dented President Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; editing by John Stonestreet

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